As part of activities to celebrate International Women’s Day and given the dire need to position young women for global participation in the gig economy, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in collaboration with NATVIEW and World Bank has successfully rounded off a pilot digital skills development programme called “Gina Mata, Gina Al-Umma”, designed to identity, prepare, and connect disadvantaged girls and young women with emerging skills in the knowledge-economy, geared towards integrating gender intentional learning outcomes focused on technical training, soft skills, and right based learnings for young women interested in the tech ecosystem.

At the closing ceremony of the four days event, the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE noted that the training programme which is hinged on creating potential economic opportunities, increasing livelihoods, and access to better lives through the Gig economy is in line with the Agency’s mission to place Nigeria on the path to attaining 95% digital literacy by 2030, in alignment with the National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020–2030.

The DG who recognised the fact that women are underrepresented in the technology sector, avowed that with programmes like the Gina Mata, Gina Al-Umma programme, NITDA aims to bridge the gap by providing young women with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the digital economy.

“At NITDA, we are very excited about this partnership with the World Bank, which is in line with our initiative of one million software developers and skills by the end of 2023; Our core mandate is to develop and regulate the information technology sector in Nigeria because believe that the future of our nation lies in the development of its human resources, and as such, we are committed to providing access to training and development opportunities for all Nigerians”, Inuwa stressed.

Inuwa who seized the opportunity to thank the World Bank for driving the initiative and the implementation partner, Natview Technology, acknowledged the importance of partnerships in achieving the organisation’s goals, noting that Natview Technology has a proven track record of delivering quality digital skills development programmes, adding that he is thankful for the execution of the pilot training programme.

He said “Ladies and gentlemen, as we round off this pilot today, let us remember that the digital economy holds vast opportunities for economic growth and development. However, to fully realize these opportunities, we must ensure that all Nigerians, regardless of gender, have access to the necessary skills and knowledge”.

The NITDA Boss urged all the young women who participated in the training to take full advantage of the opportunity to make significant contribution to the digital economy and Nigeria’s development.

Inuwa reiterated NITDA’s commitment to ensuring that the entire citizenry is empowered with information technologies through the development of a critical mass of proficient and globally competitive IT manpower. According to him, NITDA remains poised to actualise its mandate through strategic and inclusive stakeholder management, local and international partnership, and efficient utilisation of resources in the interest of Nigeria.

The Director-General who later presented certificates to the participants, congratulated them and expressed the hope of seeing the positive impact of the programme on the lives of young women in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director, NATVIEW Technology, Nuradeen Maidoki who earlier welcomed everyone to the closing ceremony described the Fasaha: Gina Mata, Gina Al-umma (“Building Women, Empowering Communities”) being implemented by Natview Technology as part of the firm’s contribution towards driving digital literacy and skills across Nigeria.

While appreciating NITDA and the World Bank for delivering digital competency beyond Nigeria, Maidoki said through the initiative, NATVIEW hopes to create a pipeline of highly skilled female technologists who can contribute to innovation and growth in Nigeria’s technology industry as the firm believes that by empowering young women with digital skills, it can create a more inclusive and diverse technology industry that reflects the richness and diversity of the society.

“During the 4-day launch, 200 young women were selected to participate in the digital content creation training. Beyond the digital content creation training, these young women also received skills training that will enable them to participate in the gig economy, which creates a platform for them to earn income from home”, Maidoki noted.

Maidoki said, “the goal of the programme is to train and equip at least 800 girls and young women with digital skills and competencies to be globally competitive in the remote workplace. The pilot launch focuses on training 200 women around digital content creation and marketing while in the future, an additional 600 young women will be integrated from four Northern Nigeria states (Borno, Gombe, Kano, Zamfara) with high FCV cases”.

In a related development, the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, has said that the Agency is working on Gender Digital Strategy, which will be used to close the digital gap and bring more women to participate in Nigeria’s Digital Economy.

He said this at the United Nations Women’s Showcase Event which took place in Abuja on Thursday, with the themed “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.”

The Showcase Event is for young women and men who have created technology or innovations to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria, with the aim of giving young women and men the opportunity to showcase their initiatives and innovative tools.

Inuwa who expressed his excitement with the ideas presented by the participants, stated that women have a role to play in the development of digital economy through innovation, and commercialisation of their products.
The DG said one of the factors that often deters people from exploring new ideas is the fear of the unknown. Many individuals prefer to remain within their comfort zones and shy away from taking risks. However, in order to foster innovation, it is necessary to step out of one’s comfort zone and experiment with new concepts.

He added that “If a man is unable to do it, there is absolutely no reason why you, as a woman, cannot achieve the same. You must recognize your unique talents and capabilities, and then seek out role models or collaborate with others to achieve your goals. Remember, success rarely happens in isolation.”

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